Mark of the Wicked
by Georgia Bowers
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 10th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers’ creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked.
Magic always leaves its mark.
All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn’t interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.
When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic – and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn’t responsible — at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth…before anyone else turns up dead.
Dark and sinister, Mark of the Wicked is a story of a teenage witch who is in a desperate need of getting a second chance in life, although she herself isn’t aware of it.
If you like books in the paranormal genre, you know how the female characters tend to be either hapless beginners who have just discovered their powers, or tough, independent fighters (with a penchant for wearing dark colours) against all the injustice in the world. They are Inherently Good, otherwise what example would they set? Right? Well, Matilda from Mark of the Wicked doesn’t fall into either category. She is quite unlikeable with her petty revenges and self-cetredness. It’s just that she can get away with them. For now…
Matilda comes from a powerful bloodline of witches and has been taught by her grandmother and her mother that magic should be used for good and there is a balance in nature. When magic is used to hurt someone, the victim’s name is carved on the face of the witch. Everything changes when Matilda’s father teaches her a painful, but powerful spell for concealing the traces of her wrongdoing (originally created to protect the witchfolk from being persecuted). Why work hard on using magic to help people without getting any thanks, let alone a personal reward, if you can have fun watching them gets scared or confused?
You can guess that it is going to go either the Dorian Gray way or…something really bad is going to happen and shake Matilda into questioning her own decisions. In this case, Oliver, a new boy at Matilda’s school becomes interested in her magic, and, all the wicked, inexplicable things that start happening in their small town seem to point at Matilda.
I like stories where the main character develops and discovers that everyone makes mistakes in life. You have to face the consequences, but you’re not alone, there are people who will see you as more than just a sum of your errors and will be there for you when you need help.
Mark of the Wicked is a dark and atmosheric read -the events take place around Halloween, so a certain amount of creepiness is only to be expected. It was really interesting to read about the magic system and Matilda’s family history. There are some fascinating secondary characters, including Nana May.
The pace is a bit slower in the first part of the book, but it is understandable, as the setting and the moral ambiguity of the main character need to be established.
Overall, this is a promising debut from Georgia Bowers and I will be looking forward to reading more of her unusual, atmospheric stories. Thank you to Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours, NetGalley, Macmillan’s Children’s group/Swoon Reads and the author for the review copy. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Georgia Bowers lives in Bedford, a small market town in England. When it was time to decide what to do with her life, she was obsessed with two things: books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seemed sensible to follow in the brogued footsteps of Rupert Giles, so she became a librarian, though sadly not the demon fighting kind. But there’s still time.
Ever since her mum told her that witches used to meet in the woods near their village, she’s been obsessed with witchcraft and the paranormal. When she was a teenager, a weekly habit of Point Horrors satisfied her thirst for chilling tales before she moved on to reading Stephen King. These days she likes to give her nerves a break every now and then with a good YA romance.
After completing a course in writing YA fiction she was a winner in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Undiscovered Voices. Since then she has dabbled with stories of chosen ones and ghostly best friends until she conjured up the magical ingredients for her debut novel, Mark Of The Wicked.
Giveaway:Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
- Print copy of Mark of the Wicked
If you would like to know what other bloggers thought of the book,you can find the full blog tour schedule here.
–A Book Addict’s Bookshelves >> Interview
–Reading Tonic >> Review
–The Reading Chemist >> Review
–Adventures in Writing >> Review
–Tien’s Blurb >> Review
–Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Excerpt